Tuesday 30 June 2015

Hot hot hot, Baby it's Hot hot hot. hooray

Sun, Sun glorious Sun, 
there's nothing quite like it for having some fun.

Yes I know that if you are working then it is not fun at all, remember though that I worked for many years in Kitchens, from tiny cafe's to  industrial factory set ups and they are all HOT. Still I Love the sun and the heat. I was in the garden early, lots of watering, tweaking weeds out, pots moving and some potting on. 2 loads of washing out by 10:00 and then I walked to the library. I did slather on the sunscreen, slip on a hat and slap my sunnies on my face.
There is a fund raising sale next month, I took 3 bags of hardback books down last week. Today I rootled through my stock of finished goods and fished out some tote bags. They will sell them off as book bags, it all helps with the little extras that our library supplies, free photocopying for black and white and a small charge for colour. Biscuits and a cold drink for the children at story telling time, and if you get there for 10:50 you can join in with the elevenses. They make a good cuppa.

Yesterday we had a few minutes of excitement, the police had several vehicles through the village, lights flashing and the odd toot of a siren for the idiot motorists that ignored them. This is what it was all about.

I had to close my eyes when it squeezed through, I could not have put my hand between those huge tyres and the parked cars.

Once the excitement was over I cracked on with pin basting Kaitlyns quilt.

When I returned from the library this morning I got it on the sewing table and have made a good start, I may get the quilting finished tonight. I have not thought about the binding yet but would like to get it made and machined onto the front tomorrow. I have a few things on the sky box that I want to watch and I would like some stitching in my hands.

I am just doing a simple cross hatch, it is all about the fabric. There are lots of things for Kaitlyn to "spy" in there, several different birds, hearts, flowers, mittens, cats, stars and so on.

Now I think that it is cool enough for a cuppa.

Many thanks for the recipe help, I will be trying some gluten free baking at the weekend.

          TTFN                                            Pam

Sunday 28 June 2015

Baking or Sewing, Try Both

We had some lovely rain last night, in fact it rained right through to around 1:30, just right to take Ben for his walk. I did take him out early but, unlike him, he was not impressed and soon turned and headed for home at a rate of knots.

Once he was dried off and fed I turned to my quilt top, all the rows were sewn and 3 of those were sewn together from last night. I got the rest sewn and pressed quite quickly. The top finishes at 60" by 70", a bit too small for my liking but will make a lovely sized quilt for Kaitlyn. I did think about adding a border or 2 to bring it up to double size but have another 2 scrappy quilts almost at the finish line and I want to press on.

I must have been having an "off kilter" week when I made the blocks, there are several places where the points are out of line but Kaitlyn will not care and I am not going to stress over it. I did unpick and re sew a few blocks, just the ones that were too bad to ignore. I have a lovely floral fabric to back it and I think I will quilt this on my Janome 8200 QC, I have a quilt on the frame and 2 more ready to go. I quite fancy some straight line quilting with the walking foot, and maybe a few of the fancy stitches as well.

Once the top was pressed I had a look out and it was still raining, I could have blitzed the kitchen but instead decided to bake.
There are loads of wild strawberries in the valley and the warm wet conditions means that they are dripping with fruit. These are large for wild berries and very tasty, I spotted a recipe for Gooseberry crumble cake on a couple of blogs and thought that the strawberries would make a nice variation.

I made 2 smaller ones and added a handful of oats to the crumble, they took around 40 minutes to bake and look and smell lush. I will be giving one away and slicing and freezing (most) of the other.

While I had the oven on I made a couple of Banana cakes, I normally use Nigel Slater's recipe but could not remember where it was so dug out Lorraine Pascal's book and used her version. Well that is not quite true, I added Macadamia nuts and dark chocolate instead of the Pecans that she uses. Again they look and smell great, and again I will gift one and slice and freeze one.

I need a tried and tested gluten free cake recipe to make for Maggie, so if any of you have one that you can share I would be most grateful.

I am going to have a rest now, the kitchen is almost to rights and dinner will be something with new potatoes and veg. I just have a batch of Hummus to make, I love that stuff, so may well just have a goodly dollop on my veg.

I have a book to finish reading before I go to the library tomorrow, so it is feet up for an hour.

                         TTFN                                                   Pam

BTW, the quilt blocks were sewn in 2013, I bought the book by Elizabeth Dackson as soon as it was published, so it was more recent than I thought.

Saturday 27 June 2015

Sewing Fest Saturday

Today dawned bright, sunny and warm, the sitting room had a blitz even had the curtains down and washed. They are now back up looking much fresher.
Bread is made, white for a change, and I made a Pizza for dinner and used up odds and ends from the fridge, I made a little extra dough just for that purpose.

I stripped throws and cushion covers from both sofas and they have all been washed and are dry and put away.

Then and only then did I get stitching, a few days ago I dug out some blocks that have been idling around for quite some time. At a guess I would say 3 years and counting, these are almost a quilt top now, and will be before I call it a day.

There will be 7 rows of 6 blocks, they finish at 9 1/2" square, above they are sewn into pairs. Most of these pairs have now been joined into rows.

I sliver trimmed and this is the total waste, I am more than happy with that.

I mentioned the 10" strip that I trimmed off my roll of wadding, well here it is.

I cut it in half, then quarters length ways and then stitched them all together. Then as it was so long still I cut that in half again and here is the last join. From a potential waste I now have a workable quilt back 80" square. Once again I am happy with that, I will probably add another off cut to make it 80" x 90"-100", I keep all my off cuts in a large box under the frame.

My yellow Rose has opened some buds, the scent is intoxicating.

I was amused to see the picture on the compost that I have ready for it's pot

The flash has washed the colour, it is almost the same as the real flower.

Now then, have you met George yet, I can not remember. George is American, he has been living here in the UK for several years now. He is a bit of a couch potato, or should I say Bed Bug as he lolls around there most of the time. He was willing to model the last quilt before it went off to the post office.

That;s all for now.

       TTFN                                                                     Pam

Thursday 25 June 2015

Hot Work in a Snow Drift.

As you all know I am having fun learning to quilt on a frame, although I am saving so much time, cue happy dance, I am wasting a great deal of wadding, some backing fabric as well but that goes in the scrap bins.
I helped with the cost by purchasing a 25 yd roll of 90" wide wadding for a super price from Empress Mills. I have cut 2 quilt lengths from it, but the waste annoys me still. Last night I had a "light bulb moment", today I unrolled the remaining 20 miles of wadding, and there is the snow drift , I would have taken a photo but could not escape the drift.
Using my largest cutting mat, 12 1/2" ruler, rotary cutter, lots of sweat and quite a few "grown up" words I trimmed 10" from the length. 
80" is  the maximum width that I can get on the frame and still access my machine to change the bobbin.(The 10" strip will be cut in half long ways and zig zagged together, rinse and repeat to give me a usable piece of wadding.)
I then manhandled the snow drift to the frame, and with more sweating, grunting and lots of huffing and puffing, wrestled it onto the bottom bar, it just about went on with about 5ft draped over.

The last 5ft is just draped on ready to be pulled up and floated on the quilt backing. This means that when I FMQ to the bottom of my next quilt I will just cut across the fleece and there will be no waste.

I am also considering joining 2 quilt tops with a 3" strip and doing the same, just cut across the joining strip at the bottom of the first quilt. That can act as a border and my next top is loaded and ready to go. Time saved if not fabric.

While I was at it I decided to go for gold, when I bought the frame it had never been set up full size. This meant that the leader cloths were in 2 pieces for each roller. I was in such a hurry to get started that I loaded them like this and just pinned them together when I loaded the quilt layers. Well not no more, so to speak, I have taken them off, sewed the bits together and reattached them.


I went shopping with a friend yesterday, Angela wanted new nets but is unwilling to struggle around in her wheelchair, so I went off with the hubby and duly found the pattern that she had selected. Today I had to shorten them by 4", why can you never get the right size? They are hung and looking good, my Janome QC sailed through the slippery fabric like a hot knife through butter.

We also had a quick tootle round Wyevale, just look at what jumped in to my arms.

The yellow rose has an amazing fragrance, I will be looking for a good pot to put it in tomorrow, just behind it is a Magnolia Stellata, half price woo hoo, this will also be going into a pot.

This cute little Gerbera had to come with me, I just love the colour.

These Camellias are in Lidl, less than £2, and will have the most fragrant white blooms, I bought them in bud as I will be potting them on later.

There a a few of these little wild flowers popping up and I am leaving most of them. They are so bright and happy, they deserve their place.

Finally, this is done and will be wrapped and in the post tomorrow, it is going North and I hope that it will be used and enjoyed. The stitch length is organic in places but it is part of my learning curve. I love it and would happily keep it for myself, I am even happier to be sending it off to be part of  another persons life.

Now it is time to get dinner on the go, mushrooms stuffed with pate and topped with herby breadcrumbs, new potatoes and salad.

                 TTFN                                                    Pam

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Pots and Plants and little visitors

Hello from searing hot Wales, the temperature has got to the stage that I had to retreat indoors. It is not so bad though, I managed a few hours potting on, planting and tidying before lunch, which BTW was not only healthy and nutritious but ab fab.

Some hummus that I made a few days ago and some raw salady things to dip in it, I should have pulled some radish but I am making a mushroom risotto for dinner and will have some with that. I like the contrast of texture, although I do not need an excuse to eat peppery radishes, I love them.

I had a pootle round some pots and spied a few visitors.

This planter of strawberries was rescued from the side of the road on bin day, there are fruits forming and runners ready to be pegged down.

These wild strawberries just appeared, runners have been rooted and moved around. The fruits are quite large and smell and taste glorious.

This young plant was all of £1 and is growing well.

This older plant is a lovely lilac but the sun has bleached out most of the colour, it is growing up through 2 tall shrubs and a net support.

This just appeared, growing though concrete, it deserves a chance, it grows at an amazing rate and the little flowers are pretty.

This is my current quilty project, a gift for RR, I am doing simple loops and swirls with the odd heart here and there. I will be trying more complicated patterns once I feel I am ready.

A little close up to show you the backing pattern.

That's all for now, my quilt is calling.

                         TTFN                                               Pam

Friday 19 June 2015

Trip around my sewing

Yesterday was so busy that by the time I sat down I was past blogging, almost past breathing.
The Log Cabin quilt is off the frame and the binding has been machined to the front. I have made a start on hand sewing it down. A few of the quilting blogs that I follow have been about using narrow binding lately. As I come from Norfolk and our motto is "we do different" I have started using wider binding, considerably wider on the bigger quilts.
I usually cut my binding strips at 2 1/2" wide, these were cut 4".

This is where I abandoned it last night when my eyes needed to sleep.

As you can see the binding is just over half an inch wide, I have folded it over to get just a bit more on the back. Should have taken a photo I suppose. I attached it with a 1/2" seam so the binding is full, I just think that a standard width would look a little mean on such a big quilt. Perhaps if there was a border it would not matter so much.

This morning I gave an impromptu bread making lesson. My friend Jill asked me a few days ago if I would show her as the last time she tried it ended badly. I believe that the dough went in the bin closely followed by the bowl, flour and packet of yeast. I do remember that her Spaniel would not come in from the garden for a while.
It went well, I did the work while she watched and tested the dough at all stages to "get" how it should feel. Next week she will make it and I will watch, I hope that gives her the confidence to go it alone.
I find that I learn much quicker when something is demonstrated.

When I came home I whizzed round, did all the little jobs, got a load of washing done and gave Ben a bath. Then decided to dig out a WIP.

My Scrappy Trip Quilt, it has been languishing in a box for far too long, there are at least 3 more in there, I put it aside because I needed some different fabric in it. I was not about to buy specially, I only use a 2 1/2" strip of fabric in each pattern. Today I had a good idea  that there were enough new scraps to make some more blocks. I needed 12, 8 are made and 4 are ready to assemble.

I will get those finished tonight and lay the whole top out, label the columns and stack them ready to sew together over the weekend. Fingers crossed that I manage to finish it, I still have 3 more quilts to get on the frame. 1 has been promised as a gift, I wanted to get some practice in on a quilt for myself. 
I have emphasised that the stitching will not be totally wonderful as I am very new to this, I have to say that I am loving it though.

I really ought to get something to eat before I go back to sewing, I am fairly hungry but just do not know what to have. This week has been very much plant based, I made a batch of Hummus and had that with lots of salad and veg sticks one night. The next I made a Chickpea and Mushroom Curry and then a  Sweet and Sour full of what ever veg was in the fridge. 

I may settle for a poached egg on toast, I do not feel like a big meal, I do have some Hummus left so could have that later.
Anyway I am off to feed my face with something.

                  TTFN                                                       Pam

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Spam, Spam and Spam no chips or egg

Just a little reminder that I have Comment Moderation set up, I detest Luncheon Meat and Spam of any kind, it all gets the "file it under R for Rubbish" treatment.

I enjoyed my visit to Saundersfoot yesterday, it is to Tenby what Sheringham is to Cromer. A smaller and quieter place and very charming.

I only took 2 pics, there were lots of floral displays but loads of people milling round.

I found a shop selling sweeties old and new, I just had to buy a Sherbet Fountain or 2.
I picked up 6 deluxe Coffee Creams, a gift, and a fridge magnet and coaster to go with them.
I love Coffee Creams but after fish and chips could not even face a sniff, and an ice cream was so out of the question.

I have made a start on the quilting, it is going better than I expected. I watched a few U Tube videos, The Crafty Gemini has several good ones out. She floats the top and batting rather than winding them onto rails, I will try that on my next one.

I am just "drawing" swirls and loops while I get the feel of it, you can see them on the quilt backing. I have a set of pantographs which I will try a few quilts down the line.

It is a learning curve for me and I am enjoying it, I have had a few tangles and managed to break 2 needles. Then realised that I had the wrong plate in the machine. More haste, Less speed.
It was soon put right and I will be doing more tomorrow. I would like to push on and finish it tonight but do not want to make my shoulders ache. Been there, Done that.

We have had a grey drizzle filled day and the garden breathed a sigh of relief and contentment, oh, perhaps that was me.

           TTFN                                             Pam

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Tenby Revisited

Well, I went to Tenby, it is still much the same but there was one thing missing.....The Deli is no more, a little bit of sulky muttering happened and then I recovered my equilibrium. I had a good wander round, Ben met and greeted a multitude of dogs of all sizes and colours, from the tiniest  Chihuahua to a pair of Long Dogs
( Deerhound Lurchers from the look of them).
There was also this who was fascinated by the sight of Ben's water dish.

We wandered around, up and down the meandering lanes, there were lots of these,

Enough of these to keep us walking,

Quite a bit of casual planting

Some more formal stretches, I know which I prefer.

The Old that has been left old,

And the old that has been rejuvenated. The old Lifeboat House is now a fully refurbished home. I saw that happen, step by step, on Grand Designs in 2011.

Then there was the old and new together,

An old tradition in a sparkling new setting, there is a plethora of chip shops, cafes, restaurants etc in Tenby but this one caught my eye. It has the top rating of 5 for food hygiene, and it is obvious why, the whole place is squeaky clean, even the staff were shiny. It also helped that there were tables outside with people eating and their food looked fantastic. I left full to the top with a decent helping of fish for Ben's dinner ( no batter, in the interest of his digestion I ate it. Too much salt and vinegar).

On the way to get my maple syrup we stopped in Saundersfoot, that can wait till tomorrow, I am drooping now and need to get Ben out for his last walk.

             TTFN                                               Pam